At the planning stage there was considerable play made that these would be ‘special hand-made’ bricks and presumably at a Memorial to fallen RAF airmen, they would be of UK manufacture. But no, they are an imported machine-made brick, nothing special, manufactured by the Austro-German company Weinerburger AG.
The company’s product name for the brick being used is ‘Marziale’ and it is claimed to be buff coloured, but appears when laid to be almost white, and having a textured finish will inevitably become green with algae! It doesn’t even appear to be the mixed colour of bricks I understood the few members of the public who bothered to attend the ‘brick selection day’ in August 2017 chose and which featured in the architect’s subsequent visualisations!
The Weinerberger company was started in Austria in the 1800s and was nearly bombed out of existence by the American Airforce and RAF Bomber Command during the final years of the 2nd World War. They re-established themselves after the war and in the 1980s created facilities in Germany and since then have spread throughout Europe, buying up other manufacturers on the way, and now claim to be the largest brick manufacturer in the world. Quoting from the company’s own history: ‘In 2001 there was a group wide restructuring with the focus on Germany’.
This thoughtless choice of bricks is seen particularly by the generation who experienced the war as disrespectful. Do we not have UK manufacturers who should be supported and supplying the bricks at this most sensitive of sites? It is further evidence, as if it were needed, of Bromley Council, its BHMM Trust and their Architect’s total lack of empathy with the St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance and its heritage. The impression was created that these bricks were supposedly hand crafted by an independent manufacturer, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
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Thank you all! Rita email: firstname.lastname@example.org